If the Churches want to dance, then they have to pay the piper:
The suit, filed Wednesday with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, claims that there is evidence the IRS is not doing enough to prevent churches and religious institutions from directly and “blatantly” engaging in political messaging which, the suit says, is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and, interestingly, of the FFRF’s equal protection rights.
As evidence for this, the FFRF points to remarks made by Russel Renwicks of the IRS’ Tax-Exempt and Government Entities division, wherein Renwicks said the IRS has suspended tax audits of churches.
“We are holding any potential church audits in abeyance,” Renwicks is quoted as saying by Bloomberg in an October piece. The piece goes on to clarify that there may be a “few” cases of “egregious” electioneering but “even those are in abeyance until IRS finalizes rules.”
An IRS spokesperson has since said that Renwicks misspoke.